$11.6M grant allows Western to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Western's Spencer Engineering Building (Photo by Dave Chidley)

Western University is taking an important step towards transitioning the campus away from fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions below mandated levels, thanks to a boost in funding in the form of $11.6 million in provincial grants through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

These funds will allow Western to recover waste heat from its power plant and use it in other buildings, while shifting from steam to low-temperature heating systems in two buildings: Spencer Engineering and the Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavillion.

“As an institution, we are committed to sustainability,” says Lynn Logan, Vice-President Operations & Finance. “By shifting to a low-temperature system, we can introduce a much wider range of renewable and recaptured energy sources. These environmental investments will result in a 12 per cent reduction in emissions from our 2016 levels at an estimated cost savings of $1.5 million annually.”

Through renovations and new builds, buildings at Western are more efficient than ever, but proposed upgrades have the potential to reduce the amount of steam required for heating and improve efficiencies in Western’s central power plant, reducing the amount of natural gas used for generating steam and chilled water.

“We want to use waste heat to heat Western’s buildings,” says Paul Martin, Director of Business Operations at Western. “Once this project is completed, heat recovery technology and renewable energy systems will be integrated throughout our campus, dramatically reducing our future carbon emissions.”

A total of $85.2M was available to all Ontario universities and administered through a competitive application process.

Western is one of eight provincially funded projects that demonstrates innovative plans and approaches to increase campus sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also supporting strategic institutional priorities.

Construction at the Spencer Engineering Building will start in July 2018 and will be completed in March 2019.

Western will celebrate the project announcement April 3 at the Innovation and Impact Symposium.

Festivities include acknowledging Western’s Ideas for Sustainability and the Environment (WISE) competition winners — when one graduate and one undergraduate student will share their high-impact ideas to reduce or eliminate today’s most pressing environmental concerns.

Media are invited to attend the Innovation and Impact Symposium and meet Western’s Green Awards winners and speak with WISE competition finalists at 1 p.m. in the atrium of the International Graduate Affairs Building.

For more information on Western’s sustainability initiatives, visit: http://sustainability.uwo.ca/

MEDIA CONTACT: Jo Ann Johnston, Community Relations, Western University, 519-661-2111, ext. 80504, or on mobile at 519-860-3120 and joann.johnston@uwo.ca @JoRoJohnston

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